Warning: Spoilers ahead for “Bird Box.”
- Netflix’s new horror film, “Bird Box” has captivated audiences and spawned thousands of memes.
- The film is based on a 2014 novel of the same name by Josh Malerman.
- The ending in the film differs from that in the book as do some of the characters.
Netflix’s “Bird Box” won’t stop captivating and disturbing audiences, to the point where the internet has been flooded with memes about it since it came out on December 21st. But many don’t know that the story was adapted from a novel, and while the two are similar, the book is even darker than the movie.
Here are nine differences between the book and the movie.
The novel is set in Detroit.
Netflix’s “Bird Box” changes the setting in Josh Malerman’s novel to Northern California, which makes for all of the beautiful nature shots throughout the film.
The book’s timeline is more spread out.
Netflix’s adaptation condenses the beginning of the story in order to spend more time focusing on what happens after the outbreak. At the beginning of the film, we see that the mass suicides and hysteria are spreading rapidly across the globe. Malorie’s sister, Jessica, is hardly introduced before she dies by suicide on the way home from Malorie’s OBGYN appointment.
In the book, the mass suicides take much longer to spread, and Jessica’s character gets a little more development. As the outbreak affects more and more areas, Malorie and Jessica barricade themselves in their apartment in the hopes of surviving and last for three months before Jessica dies by suicide.
Jessica’s death is different in the novel.
In the film version, Jessica is driving Malorie home from her OBGYN appointment when she sees one of the monsters and crashes the car, then dies by suicide after stepping in front of an oncoming bus.
The book has Jessica survive for three months while holed up in the apartment with Malorie before she accidentally sees one of the creatures and dies by suicide in the bathroom.
Douglas’ character doesn’t exist in the book.
Douglas is played by John Malkovich in Netflix’s adaptation and is a loud mouth jerk who spends his time during the apocalypse drinking and only worrying about himself, but many times becomes the voice of reason in the home. There is no such character in the book.
Several of the personalities and names of the other characters in the first safe house are different in the novel.
Malorie also meets Don and Jules in the safe house in the book, whereas she meets Charlie and Lucy in the film version. Netflix’s adaptation made Charlie’s character the funny guy who ends up dying relatively early on, whereas the novel’s character of Don survives longer and is more of a voice-of-reason.
Olympia and Tom’s names remained the same in the book and the movie, which is fitting because they’re the names Malorie gives the children at the end of the book.
Tom’s role is much larger in the movie than in the book.
In Netflix’s “Bird Box,” Tom is the last from the safe house to survive with Malorie and the kids, and they become a family for five years with Malorie and Olympia’s children. In the book, Tom dies at the hands of infected survivor Gary while Malorie is giving birth.
In the novel, Malorie trains for her journey to Rick with her children for four years.
After Tom dies in the book, Malorie receives a call from Rick telling her about the sanctuary. She then spends the next four years training herself and her children for the journey.
In Netflix’s version, because Tom survives, the two raise the children with no intention of travelling elsewhere, until one night when they’re radioed by Rick to come to the sanctuary.
The birds are used as more of a device in the novel.
In Malerman’s novel, Tom keeps the birds to warn them when the creatures are near. Malorie later brings them with her on her journey with the kids to be a lookout, and the birds eventually go crazy, which alerts Malorie to the monsters’ presence.
In the movie, the birds act as more of a symbol of hope. Malorie finds them in the supermarket and remarks on how they have survived thus far and realised they alert everyone to the creatures. At the end, she releases the birds to live in the sanctuary, perhaps illustrating the fact that she and her children are, for all intents and purposes, safe now as well.
The book has a darker ending.
The film ends with Malorie and her kids getting to the school for the blind and finally being able to take their blindfolds off for good. In the book, Malorie and the kids still make it to the sanctuary but learn that many of the people there had intentionally blinded themselves in order to stay safe after a creature got in.
The film’s director, Susanna Bier, told Polygon, “The movie is slightly more positive … The book also has a kind of positive ending and I would not have wanted to do an apocalyptic movie that didn’t have a hopeful ending … I’m not particularly interested for the audience to leave, from the cinema or their own screen, with a kind of completely bleak point of view. That’s not really what I believe in. And so for me, it was key and, and part of what made me interested in it, was that if this scary, dystopian story, which actually has a hopeful undercurrent … there is a hopefulness in trust. That is a hopefulness in love. There is a hopeful note in certain values that I really appreciate it. And I thought that was hugely important.”
Visit INSIDER’s homepage for more.
Business Insider Emails & Alerts
Site highlights each day to your inbox.